What is the one thing that all operations have? If you guessed a breakdown hero or fire fighter, you are correct. You know the person who swoops in like superman and repairs a machine quickly. These breakdown heroes are the people who reduce the time to repair, but do they contribute to or reduce the reactivity of the site?

I remember praising an electrician who was able to quickly restore a critical piece of equipment to an operational state. I didn’t ask what he did, but I wish I did. Shortly thereafter the equipment failed for a second time. The electrician had left for the night and night shift electrician came to diagnosis the problem. He began to troubleshoot and found that the day shift electrician had jumpered out a limit switch. As the night electrician began to further diagnosis the problem, he found that the limit switch jumpered out was an over travel switch. With the switch jumpered out, the carriage was able to exceed the limit switch and stall out against a hard stop. This was caused by the encoder slipping on the pinion.

The equipment ended up sustaining secondary damage as a result and was out of operation far longer than it should have been. I fell victim to praising the breakdown hero and his quick fix.

We are all under pressure to reduce the Mean Time To Repair, but when it sacrifices long term performance and reliability, it is not acceptable. When we praise the quick fix, we are doing exactly that, but sacrificing long term performance. How you may ask?

  • Unawareness of Secondary Damage: When a quick fix is made, the fix is usually centered on the observation or symptom of the failure. This leads to a tunnel vision, where secondary damage may not be noticed during the repair and only becomes apparent during a failed start up attempt. It may also arise when a larger failure occurs.
  • Introduction of Failures: Instead of loosening off a motor and sliding it forward to put the new belts on, the belts are rolled over the sheaves. Why does this matter? We have stretched the belts and possibly damaged them by rolling them. To reduce the chance of a premature failure, the motor should have been loosened off, belts installed, aligned and tensioned prior to start up.
  • Not Determining the Root Cause: This leads to an inability to prevent the failure in the future. Understanding the root cause is critical to designing out the defect in the future, which drives performance of the operation.

Ensuring that our craft take the time to properly diagnose the failure and repair it properly is a critical first step in our Eruditio, LLC & Maintenance journey.

There is a very good piece on culture and leadership in chapter 2 in Maintenance & Reliability Best Practices by Ramesh Gulati. It covers the leadership required to lead a Reliability culture and what a Reliability culture looks like. It is a great read for anyone looking to improve their culture.

Remember, to find success, you must first solve the problem, then achieve the implementation of the solution, and finally sustain winning results. When was the last time you praised the individual who refused to do a quick fix and took the time to properly diagnosis the problem? They likely prevented a future failure from a occurring. Be sure to praise and thank those who contribute to the proactive and reliable operation.

I’m James Kovacevic
Eruditio, LLC
Where Education Meets Application

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]